America's Favorite Farmers Markets, Farmland Protection in Crisis, Climate Action on the Horizon and More

American Farmland Trust
American Farmland Trust

E-News May 22, 2009

Welcome to the May issue of E-news. Read on to get involved in our summer America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest, gear up for climate change legislation next week, tune in to a precarious situation for farmland protection, and more!

Make Sure Your Vote Will Count this Summer for America's Favorite Farmers Markets

Well, the word is out. We are running the country’s first ever America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest—and you will be the one to decide the winners! We can’t do it without your help! In order to participate, farmers market managers have to enroll, so we need your help to get out the word to all the market managers in YOUR community. Want to help even more? Give your farmers market a leg-up by sponsoring your market with a promotional package. Get your friends together to put $35 or $50 into a hat and give it to your market manager so that they can purchase a promo pack of No Farms No Food bumper stickers, voter cards with the link to the contest, and signs noting that they are official contestants in the 2009 America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest.

Print out this flyer to take to your market manager, or email it to them as an attachment!

Farmland Protection Funding in Crisis

North Carolina farmland
This spring, state budgets for farmland protection are taking a beating, and farmland protection advocates have been storming the halls of state capital buildings to make the case for these critical programs in the face of an economic downturn. On top of a worsening situation at the state level, President Obama released a budget this week that was disappointingly short on much needed funding for the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program. In the President’s 2009-2010 budget, FRPP would be capped at $120 million a year. While this is barely a shave from this year's funding, such a cap curtails the expected growth in program funds to $200 million in FY 2012 that was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill.

Climate Change Legislation Is Approaching; Will Agriculture be Part of the Equation?

Georgia Farmland
Get ready and get set for action! Next week the House Energy and Commerce Committee convenes to focus on climate change legislation. Will Congress take the right steps in “The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009” so agriculture is a key player in cap and trade programs designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? We need to be waiting in the wings to take action and help shape the outcome of this historic environmental bill so that farmers and ranchers across the United States can combat climate change through good conservation practices rather than be burdened by onerous regulations and enforcement!

A Farmland Legend Is Honored

Norm Berg
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Natural Resource Conservation Service Chief Dave White rename and dedicate the Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials CenterPDF in honor of the American Farmland Trust’s late friend and colleague Norm Berg on May 15th. Berg joined the staff of American Farmland Trust as Senior Advisor just after the organization’s inception in 1982 and served as a vital proponent of farmland protection until his death in 2008. With a lifetime’s work devoted to preserving our nation’s natural resources, this dedication ceremony will fittingly place him as one of the more recognizable names in farmland conservation and USDA history.

Around the Country

New Jersey opens the door for a $600 million dollar referendum for open space!

Actor Michael J. Fox speaks up for New York dairies.

The Chesapeake Bay Executive Council announced one overall goal and individual two-year milestones for the six states and the District of Columbia that are working together to reduce Chesapeake Bay pollution.

Natural Resources Conservation Service sets aside funding especially for operations that are organic or are interested in transitioning to organic production. The deadline is fast approaching!

A new study conducted for American Farmland Trust reveals that Texas lost 2.1 million acres of farms, ranches and forest land between 1997 and 2007.

In Wisconsin the Working Lands Initiative continues to have strong momentum as it passes the Joint Finance Committee with flying colors. The success of the initiative is due in part to advocates and supporters expressing their views on behalf of our Campaign for Wisconsin's Farm and Forest Lands.

San Francisco, California urban-rural roundtable recommends conservation of farmland to sustain local food.

The North Carolina Senate has passed SB 1067, which would set a goal for in state consumption of North Carolina products and establishes a state level Food Policy Council.

Ohio is linking its school children and their families to the benefits of farmland through HB 68, which provides grants to schools establishing nutrition and agricultural education programs for kindergartners.

California sets sights on a strategic plan for agriculture.

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